The Sugar Quill
Author: Lazaraspaste (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Muggle Art of Dentistry  Chapter: Default
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The Muggle Art of Dentistry

Author’s Notes: This is a half a “fill in the missing scenes story” and half a “what if” story. The usual disclaimers apply. For those of you wondering what I’m doing writing this when I should be finishing my other story, I apologize. I backed myself into a corner and now I have to write my way out of it. It took a lot of thinking but I have a plan. In the meantime, may I present:

 

The Muggle Art of Dentistry

 

     The house was a two-story, red-bricked affair with large windows and a gravel drive. Modestly large, it spoke of money and taste without flaunting either. In some ways, it was like Miss Granger herself. Mostly in the manner of its vegetation which was both abundant and bushy. The only difference between the hedgerows lining the front drive and the Gryffindor’s hair was that the shrubbery happened to be green.

     Although, that difference may not be long for this world if she keeps hanging around with the Weasley hoodlums, Severus Snape thought as he stomped up the gravel drive to the front door.

     One would have thought that Dumbledore, in his seemingly infinite wisdom could have gotten someone better suited to cast wards around Granger’s house. But no. As usual the duty fell on Severus’ shoulders and in the end there would be—typically—little thanks.

     Brrrrrrrrrrng! It was a horrid sound. Deeply annoying and Severus wondered how Muggles managed to maintain sanity with buzzing sounds infiltrating their brains all day long.

     Then again, he thought noticing the squat, ceramic figurine on the neighbor’s lawn, maybe they didn’t.

     The woman that answered the front door (Mediterranean Blue, no less) did not look like the sort of woman who would have spawned the insufferable know-it-all that was and always would be Hermione Granger.

     In the first place, her hair wasn’t in the least bit bushy. It was smooth, silky, and surprisingly blonde. In the second place, she did not look nearly old enough to have a teenaged child.

     Or at least, so he thought until he noticed the tiny little crow’s feet radiating from the corners of her very blue, very clear eyes. Or the laugh lines around her mouth. Her very pink mouth.

     “Can I help you?” she asked politely as her eyes took in his robes and wand. He could see her stiffen as she did so. Maybe a little panic even crept into her eyes.

     Good, he thought. At least, she has enough sense to be wary of men with sticks.

     “I think rather the opposite, Dr. Granger,” he replied in his most sneering tone. He didn’t know why. Years of habit born of teaching idiots and lazy little brats.

     “I believe Professor Dumbledore informed you of my coming?” He prompted her when she began to look confused.

     “Oh Yes!” She cried her face breaking into a welcoming smile. “Of course, I completely forgot that today was the day you were coming, Professor Snape. Do forgive me.” She stepped back from the door. “Won’t you please come in?”
     Severus gathered his robes before stepping over the threshold into a very nice foyer with a mahogany hat-stand, tiled floors, and a staircase with a polished oak balustrade. Just as the outside, the foyer softly whispered “Affluent, sophisticated.”

     “Can I get you anything to drink, Professor Snape?” Dr. Granger was beaming politely from the entrance to the well-appointed and book filled sitting room.

     It all becomes painfully clear, Severus thought as he eyed the piles of well-worn books propped against various bits of furniture.  

     “Or perhaps a cup of tea?” Dr. Granger’s eyebrows rose into a wide, solicitous expression.

     “No, thank you.” Severus replied, waving away the offer impatiently. “If you would just show me where the boundaries to your property are?”

     Irritatingly enough, the woman merely smiled pleasantly and said “Of course, if you’ll follow me outside.”

     He did. And much to his own deep shame his eyes fell on her backside as she turned away from him, noticing the way her hips swayed as she walked across the yard and pointed out exactly where their property ended and the neighbor’s began.

     Severus tried not to think about the doctor Mrs. Granger’s hips as he slogged around the property line casting the wards. The woman had gone inside to do whatever it was that Muggle dentists do. Not that he had expected her to stay outside and watch. The daughter would have but apparently the mother wasn’t as infuriatingly curious.

     Wards, especially the kind that stand up against the most vicious of attacks, are extremely difficult to cast. More to the point, casting them is an exhausting task.

     By the time Severus had finished his unwanted chore he was sweaty and bone weary. The sun was throwing long shadows across the ground and in the distance was the whirring noise of some Muggle contraption. The air smelled of cut grass and summertime. It would have almost been . . . pleasant if there hadn’t been the shadow of the Dark Lord hanging over everything. After all, he would never have been here in this little enclave of Muggledom had it not been for Voldemort and his obsession with Harry Potter and anything associated with the boy.

Severus had to reluctantly admit, as he trudged back to the house, that he was rather envious that Granger got to spend her summers’ here. Marching about the property had further cemented his conviction about the affluence of the Grangers Senior but more, it gave him a good look around.

The garden was the sort of garden every Englishman longed for—even Severus.

     It had large, leafy trees blocking out unwanted and prying eyes. It had great flowering shrubs concealing hidden little nooks and crannies in which one could nap peacefully or perhaps read. It had gorgeous, glorious flowers that were seemingly everywhere. There was even a small vegetable patch not far from the back terrace.

     The whole house and all of its grounds were lovely and sweet.

     If Severus hadn’t been so exhausted the sweet, hominess of it all would have enraged him.

     “Oh dear, Professor Snape, you look utterly spent.” Dr. Granger had appeared in the doorway at the back of the house carrying a tray of lemonade and something that resembled a salad.

     “It was to be expected, Madam,” Severus told her trying to keep the sneer out of his voice and his eyes off of her hips.

     “Oh well, I assumed that it would be difficult. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate this. We’re very concerned about this Valdermont person. Not for ourselves, of course,” she added quickly, setting down the tray on the iron table that took up one corner of the terrace. “But for Hermione. I had know idea that her being Harry’s friend and—what do you call it? Muggle-born?”

     Snape nodded, eyeing the tray and the table suspiciously. He had the disconcerting feeling that she was going to invite him to sit down.

     “Well, that her being from non-magic parents would be so . . . dangerous.”

     “Yes,” said Severus, avoiding eye contact. “It is an unfortunate fact of the world that humans despise what is different.”

     “Professor Snape, won’t you please sit down,” she smiled at him and gestured towards one of the lawn chairs. “The least I can do is feed you after you exerted yourself so much on our behalf.”

     “It’s quite all right . . .”

     “No, really,” she interrupted his protest. “I insist. I would feel just awful having you come all this way and not being able to repay you in some small way. Please, at least have a cool drink. It’s quite hot out and you’ve been working for hours.”

     Severus couldn’t think of another polite protest so he sat down. Why he wasn’t just rude, he couldn’t say.

     “Would you like some pasta salad as well?” she asked as she handed him a cool glass of lemonade. Her hair was glowing in the late afternoon sun.

     So that’s what that concoction is, Severus thought before nodding his head.

     “You’re right, of course,” Dr. Granger told him as she spooned some of the salad onto a plate. “About humanity being inclined to hate what’s different. You’d think that after all the genocides this century has seen people would learn.”

     “If there is one thing that I have learned, Dr. Granger, it is that mankind rarely learns anything.” Severus replied as she handed him lunch.

     “Oh, I can’t believe that. I think people are quite capable of changing.” She smiled at him again as she sat down. He couldn’t help noticing that when she smiled a small dimple appeared at the corner of her mouth.

     “I see you are an optimist, Dr. Granger,” said Severus, twirling his fork in the salad and taking a bite. It was quite good. Actually, rather perfect for a hot summer day and it did hit the spot. He hadn’t realized how hungry he had been.

     “Please, call me Olivia,” she smiled, the little dimple appearing again.

     “Then I insist that you call me, Severus.”

     “Severus,” she smiled again as she sipped her lemonade.

     “May I inquire as to where your husband and daughter are today?”

     She laughed. “Oh, well Paul’s at the office and Hermione’s working there, too. Just for today. Our receptionist quit and we needed someone to fill in until we could find a permanent replacement.” She sighed and leaned back in her chair. Severus made a gallant effort not to let his eyes wander downwards.

“Tomorrow,” she continued. “She’s going to go stay with the Weasleys. I think it’s good for her, staying with them. Otherwise, she’d be locked her room reading or doing homework.”

     Severus’ mouth twitched. That was how he had imagined Miss Granger had spent her summers, at least based on the copious evidence of her holiday homework.

     “I’m sure, as her professor, you’ve noticed that she can be a bit of an overachiever.” She gave him a wry smile, the sort he had seen shared between friends and co-conspirators.

     “Yes, indeed,” he replied, finding himself utterly charmed by that particular smile. “When I assign an essay of three feet I am assured that your daughter will give me four.”

     “That’s my Hermione.” She said chuckling. There was a pause and then a sigh. She shook her head. “I suspect it’s because she has this idea that the only thing she’s good for is being smart.”

     This was the last thing that Severus Snape expected to hear. And he was rather taken aback by it. Somehow, it had never occurred to him that Miss Granger would be insecure.

     “Mmmhm,” Severus replied indistinctly, not knowing what to say to such a revelation. He found insecurity entirely distasteful and altogether too familiar a trait to dwell on over much.

     “She should be home soon, if you’d like to stay and see her.”

     That was the last thing Severus wanted to do. And Miss Granger was hardly likely to appreciate his presence at her home.

     “No, I’m afraid I can’t.” He rose quickly from his seat. “Actually, I really must be going. There is other business I must attend to before the day is over.” He lied.

     “Oh, yes, of course.” She said, also standing.

     “Thank you for the lunch Doctor . . . Olivia.” Severus said, following her into the house.

     “Oh, it was no trouble at all. After what you’ve done to help us . . . to ward us. Well, it was nothing. Really, if you ever need dental work done . . .” she laughed again.

     “I shall keep that in mind,” Severus nodded curling up the edges of his mouth into a half smile but making sure he didn’t reveal his teeth. He felt unusually self-conscious about the state of his mouth. He didn’t like the feeling.

     They reached the front door and once again, Severus stepped over the threshold.

     “Thank you, Severus.” Her eyes held a sincere gratitude. It wasn’t something he was used to seeing when people were addressing him.

     “It was no trouble.” He replied. “Good Evening.” And with that he turned and began to march back up the gravelly drive to a safe apparition point.

“Good evening.” He heard her say as she shut the front door.

Startlingly enough, as his raised his wand to disapparate he found that when he had told her that it was no trouble he had meant it.

 

 

 

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